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Department of Theology and Religion

Entry Requirements

The standard entry requirement for research degrees (except the DThM and the Integrated PhD, where there are different processes) is a good pass in a Masters-level programme which is relevant to the proposed research topic.

This requirement can be waived in the case of applicants who can demonstrate by other means that they have the skills, experience and ability to carry out research at this level.

If you fall short of this requirement, you may be eligible for admission to the MA by Research (a one-year full-time / two-year part-time research degree). If you perform strongly during the MA, it is possible to 'upgrade' to PhD (or MLitt) status towards the end of the year, in which case that year would count at the first year of your study for the higher degree.

If your proposed research requires particular skills (such as proficiency in Biblical languages), you may also required to demonstrate that you have sufficient expertise to begin your studies.

In all cases it is essential to provide a sound research proposal, a sample of your written work and two strong academic references.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants for whom English is not their first language, and who have not undertaken part or all of their earlier theological education in the English language, must fulfill a minimum acceptable English language requirement prior to registering as students. The requirement for this department can be satisfied by any of the following:

  • An Overall Band Score of 7.0 or above in the British Council International English Language Testing Service test (I.E.L.T.S.) with no band below 6.5.
  • TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test) 102 or above, with no element below 25.
    (Applicants planning to take this test are advised to contact the Postgraduate Admissions Secretary at before booking the test.)
  • Pearson Academic (PTE) score of 70 (with no score less than 62 in each component).

In all cases the relevant certificate should have been issued within two years of the programme start date.

If you fall short of these requirements, you may be offered a place conditional on your registering for and completing one of Durham's pre-sessional English language courses. These have an excellent track record both for raising students' facility in academic English and for introducing them to academic life in Durham.